Highland’s open house and preparations throughout the summer were topics discussed at the regular board meeting August 12, 2014.
Board Vice-President Loren Altizer congratulated the administration for their work in preparing for the start of school Thursday, August 14 and the smooth operation of Tuesday’s 6-hour open house.
“Our goal alignment for this year has been evaluated and we have the right leadership in place to run our district and meet our goals,” Altizer said. “Our goal alignment for this year, with a few small revisions, will [enable] us to meet our goals as a district and we will continue to raise the level of excellence at Highland.”
The goals center on five items: excellence, safety, consistency, communication and efficiency.
Altizer feels the school board works well together, having undergone adverse times and strenuous situations in the past.
He also passed along a message from the Steck family, who expressed their appreciation for the use of the school for services [for their son] and the support they received.
“We have a wonderful community, and the support of this community is second to none,” Altizer said. “We take it for granted and we shouldn’t. I’m proud to be a member of this community.”
Board President Bill Short said he visited the school during the open house, spoke with teachers, was impressed with the enthusiasm of the staff and wished the board a good school year.
Kathy Belcher thanked the community for their support and prayers in the previous two weeks for her family and the Steck family, following deaths in both families.
Supt. Dr. Bill Dodds thanked everyone for their support of the Steck family, which he said, “speaks volumes for the type of person Ryder was.”
“In a difficult time, when there’s good people around, it makes it a lot better,” he said. He commended Tim Belcher for all his preparations and behind the scenes work to make sure everything was in place and ready.
“He was on top of things, even in the middle of his own hard times,” Dodds said. “He made sure everything here was taken care of.”
Dodds said the custodial staff was challenged at the beginning of the summer to have the buildings ready three weeks early. Extra people were not added and the staff met the challenge.
“They did a very nice job and didn’t complain,” Dodds said.
School starts Thursday, August 14 and teachers worked a long day Monday for open house. Dodds felt the turnout was good.
“The buses and everything is ready to go,” Dodds said. There will be a week’s break for the fair after seven day of school.”
He said they board has asked teachers to personalize instruction, give great feedback and, most importantly, ‘take care of our students. Meet their needs and help them grow at their current level.’
Treasurer Jon Mason talked to the board about bus bids, which were taken August 7 from three bidders, Bluebird (Cardinal), Thomas and International. All base bids were within $500 of each other and Mason discussed the options and said he conferred with the Transportation staff about their preference. Later in the meeting, the board agreed to purchase two new International buses from Rush Bus Sales.
During public participation, resident Bob Sutherland asked the board about prospective land purchases the board would be discussing during executive session. Bill Short responded that, ahead of the session, what he could say about it was the purchase could offer better access to the high school in ‘egress to entrance for buses’ and their decisions ‘would be impacted by neighborly decisions about alternative uses of land that may or may not cause the board to make some decisions.’ Negotiations with the seller would be taking place and ‘the group needs to come to an agreement about what they want to do. It involves minimal acreage – less than two or three acres.’
High School Principal Nathan Huffman talked about the upcoming first day of school and said they will be ready for the students. The first blood drive of the year will be August 20 from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., and the goal is 24 useful units of blood to stay eligible for the Red Cross Scholarship in the Spring. The high school has met that goal the past two years.
Huffman said the high school open house had a very good turnout and thought the 6-hour window of time worked out better for parents and visitors.
Asst. Principal Matthew Bradley offered the elementary school report in place of Shawn Winkelfoos and Chad Carpenter. Rob Terrill was also unable to attend.
Bradley thanked the janitorial staff for the condition of the schools and said the elementary open house was well attended. Teachers are ready to go, he said. From a basketball program standpoint, he said he was thankful and appreciative of all the support shown for Ryder and his family and the players as well.
“It’s going to be very hard for them, and knowing they have that support, I’m very appreciative.”
Athletic Director Mike Hoyng said the volleyball team was having their third scrimmage that night and their 4th scrimmage was Thursday, Aug. 14. Golf started the 12th with their first invitational, and the football teams have been working, with about 51 players presently. Hoyng said there are 30 volleyball and almost 40 cross country athletes and 10 golfers. The band has about 45 people participating.
Deb Hart reported the kitchens were almost ready, and in Direct Serve, free lunches amount to 401 (21%) at this time. Training for bus drivers and kitchen staff took place Tuesday that included CPR training.
The board accepted a resignation from High School Science Teacher Heather Nauman.
Approved were one year contracts for Chad Williams, High School Social Studies Teacher; Paige Stewart, Middle School Language Arts Teacher; and substitute Bus Driver Betty Brandum.
Approved was maternity leave for Kindergarten Teacher Annie Johnson.
Extended Service Days were approved for Pamela Mosier-Arnold, Elementary Special Education.
The next regular Highland Board meeting will be held September 10, 2014 at 7 p.m. in the high school cafetorium.